Ever wondered how a work of art makes it out of the imagination and onto canvas? Wonder no more… here’s an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at some of the works on show at the RBSA.
Many of the works are for sale, making a perfect Christmas gift for the art lover in your family.
Snowfall Birmingham – copper plate etching and aquatint
It’s only in the last two years that I discovered the dramatic, industrial beauty of Birmingham’s canals. This piece started with a sketch I made on site on the canalside not far from the RBSA. It was made in the summer on a showery day. Some months later, inspired by seeing ice on the water’s surface and snow piling up on canal bridges I changed my sketch and and made my snow scene, copper plate aquatint and etching.
Dark Cliff – oil painting
Seated at the base of dramatic Cornish cliffs in June, I looked up and was in awe of the sheer scale of the imposing rock. I was working fast and wanted to create an impression of the rock, water and misty distance rather than a photographically realistic painting. My excitement was held by the scene and lasted well after I left Cornwall. Now, in the West Midlands, far from the sea, I can remember that day perfectly.
The title of my painting ‘Nature Morte’ is a play on words; referring both to the alarming reality of mankind’s destruction of nature and to itself as a concept-driven still life painting.
A sizeable chunk of humanity has apparently decided not to take responsibility for its wholesale destruction of our shared environment. This catastrophe will fall squarely on the shoulders of future generations who will undoubtedly judge today’s generation of profiteers very harshly.
One symptom of this sickness is referred to as the ‘Sixth Great Extinction’ and we are full flow witnessing irreversible losses to many of the planets’ plant and animal species. As an artist I have a deep affinity and passion for nature and the natural world, so it is unsurprising that this is a subject which finds it’s way into my work.
In the still life painting the dead bee represents the victims of industrial farming practices (endorsed by governments everywhere) which has led to a massive over-poisoning of the insect population for decades, this in turn is the primary cause of a shocking decline in our bird populations. The dead bee is taken to symbolise the much wider environmental issues.
The small green bottle holds a message – a surreal hallucinatory eye, sounding out an alarm. The broken egg below symbolises this desperate loss, the loss of unborn potential, and the dice therein refers to the seemingly random fate of mankind where no-one appears to be able to steward the ship!
Nature Morte was painted in oils from life in Northern light. After carefully arranging the chosen objects in a way that suggested my eco-narrative, I made a direct drawing on the surface of the linen panel. A few dilute ink washes were applied to establish the tonal structure before blocking in the underpainting in colour. Many thin layers of paint were subsequently added until the right ‘feel’ or atmosphere was generated.
In May this year I walked the Gritstone Trail from its start in Disley, south Manchester to Kidsgrove in the Potteries. The path rises and falls over outlying hills adjoining the west side of the Peak District. From one of these high points, Sponds Hill, there was a captivating view towards the Peak’s moorland.
After referring to many photos taken en route I committed this view to memory and without any preparatory sketches I painted in acrylics the reaction I experienced of this expansive landscape.
Graham Leonard King
‘Willows Pool’ was inspired when out walking in Kingsbury Water Park, a conveniently brisk four-minute stroll from my front door. This is one of many pools within the park, each with its own unique character. I was attracted by the contrast of colour and tone produced by the light reflected off the surface of the water, and the depth of shadow cast by the tangle of trees and variety of vegetation that occupy the site. This produced a distinctive and strong compositional opportunity that immediately appealed to my desire for ‘visual rhythm’ that I strive to capture in my work.
I prefer to work in the studio rather than on site. After familiarising myself with the subject and absorbing its atmosphere, I take numerous photographs as an aid to memory and record any details that are necessary to include in the finished work. Most of my paintings are produced on MDF sheet that is mounted on timber returns to create a box canvas, this is then prepared with a coating of white gesso, after which a simple cartoon outlining the required image is applied before painting begins. Working in acrylics, the rigid surface provides the foundation for a variety of techniques to be employed, from the lightness of watercolour to the impasto application usually associated with oils.
Visit the Members and Associates Exhibition soon!
Here’s why our current exhibition is such a goldmine of contemporary art…
Roger adds: ‘There is a very wide range of 2D and 3D works This variety offers a fascinating insight into contemporary interpretations of subjects. The RBSA’s Members and Associates’ work is a great example of the Society’s leading role at the forefront of today’s art world in the Birmingham and surrounding region.”
With most works of art for sale, this annual showcase of the lifeblood of the RBSA is an ideal opportunity to find that unique Christmas gift.
You’ll find a beautiful selection of landscapes, seascapes, still lifes, portraits, sculptures, abstracts, prints and more! Read on to find out more about the artists behind some of the beautiful works in this year’s exhibition…